A Sweet Savor Contact Miscellaneous Audio Messages Penmen


DEAR BROTHER WILLIAM: - I find by the 13th & 14th number, present volume of the MESSENGER, that brother Purdy has some objections to certain ideas advanced by me in my communication in answer to brother Fisher. His objection seems to be mainly against an idea which I threw out rather as a suggestion, than as a fixed opinion. This suggestion is found in the sentence quoted by him from me. “Thus the manifestation of the justification of the Old Testament saints, and the justice of God in their justification was made perfect, {that is, by Christ’s being delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification as spoken of before,} as it was not to them while on earth, at least, even if it was to them in heaven, until the everlasting doors were opened, and the King of glory, or Christ triumphant first entered, then they no doubt entered in with him.” That is, that the saints which died previous to the ascension of Christ did not enter into that heaven where the saints are with Christ and behold his glory, until he as the Leader and Head of his people first entered in, and was seated on the throne of his glory, then they entered in to be with him, &c. I threw out the idea rather as a suggestion, because it was an idea I had not previously particularly thought of; though when it was presented to my mind, certain texts which I also quoted were brought to my mind as supporting the idea. But the fact that brother Purdy has not been able to bring one text of Scripture in support of the view that the ancient saints enter at death, is sufficient to confirm me that his view is not right, even if I had not plain Scripture to support my idea. For since my mind has been led to the subject it must take something more than traditional assumptions to convince me that the Old Testament saints could at their death enter into the glory of Christ, whilst Jesus was not yet glorified. See John 7:39.

But brother Purdy seems also to object to the idea that the Old Testament saints had not the full manifestation of their justification, as they and the New Testament saints have, since Christ was raised for their justification. I will offer the few remarks I have to make on this point first.

1st. As this seems to involve the doctrine of eternal or antemundane justification, a subject which has been heretofore fully discussed. Besides the doctrine of the union of Christ and his bride or people, which has been more recently discussed, necessarily involves the idea that as Adam’s posterity stood and fell in him by virtue of union, so Christ’s bride remained under the demands of the law, whilst he, her husband, remained under it, and was justified when he received his clearance on her behalf by his resurrection. So I am not disposed now to discuss these points. I wish only to notice a few texts of Scripture. First, Gal.4:3, which I quoted before. Who does Paul mean by the we in verse 3? We national Israel, or we spiritual Israel? Do not his various addresses to those to whom he wrote his Epistles show that he addressed them as brethren in Christ or spiritual Israelites? If so, can brother Purdy explain this passage so as to allow that the believers, the spiritual Israelites were not in bondage under the elements of the world, until the fulness of time was come when God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law? And could they receive the adoption of sons before they were thus redeemed by Christ’s coming and death? Or what does Paul mean by what he says in the 4,5 & 7th verses? Again, Rom.3:24-26. What can Paul mean, after saying, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God,” by repeating, To declare and uniting it by the expression at this time, if he would have it understood that in all past time God’s righteousness in the remission of sins, was declared through types, as now through the actual death of Christ? Brother Purdy took no notice of these texts as quoted in my communication to which he replied. They certainly stand for something, and their meaning must be definite. If brother Purdy will carefully examine them, I think he will be convinced that the actual death of Christ was important, and vastly important in the redemption of his people from under the law, and as much so in reference to those who lived before his coming in the flesh, as for those who have lived since. Many other texts might be quoted to the same amount, but I will just name two others. Matt.5:17,18, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled.” What can this mean, if the law and prophets were fulfilled by the types and shadows, or by faith, so that the saints were freed from the law and made perfect? See also Rom.10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” How could Christ become the end of the law for righteousness, {if the law could not be destroyed, nor one jot or tittle pass from it,} without his actually fulfilling it? And if not, how could the Old Testament saints be delivered from it, so as to be no more servants, but sons? Will brother Purdy reflect on these things, and show us if he can that the faith of the ancient saints by looking at the shadow, could see as clearly the end of the law, and the justice of God, in justifying the ungodly, as does the faith of the New Testament saints in looking at the substance, Christ, with open face and not through a veil. See II Cor.3:13-18.

But brother Purdy seems to place great stress on the purpose of God going before. As there is so much of this purposed salvation afloat among us at this day, and represented to be of equal efficacy and equally complete with actual redemption and salvation, I may perhaps be indulged in noticing it a little. But I wish first to notice the vast difference between the infinitely omniscient God with whom there can be no future, no past, and finite creatures who are of yesterday. With God, his law was magnified and satisfied from the beginning. But could God impart to finite creatures, or has he ever done it, a faith, that equals his own omniscience? I think not. And I should think brother Purdy, when calmly reflecting on it, would admit that it is the prerogative of Jehovah alone to declare the end from the beginning. And yet what short of this, does he ascribe to the faith of the Old Testament saints? If I can understand some parts of his remarks, salvation must be an actual deliverance from the obligations or bondage of the law, as well as from sin, for the strength of sin is the law. I Cor.15:56. God as the sovereign law giver, could suspend the infliction of the curse incurred on his people, until the fulness of time by him set had come, then the Son coming forward in that nature which the law could take hold of, that curse fell on him, as having by his eternal relation to his people been placed between them and the law, they being in him. Hence God could spare them from going down to the pit, saying, “I have found a ransom,” {Job 33:24,} and give them a type of that ransom in the sacrifices of beasts, &c., and give them faith to behold through these that provided ransom, and therefore give them hope of final deliverance. But how he could give them faith to believe, that they were already justified or cleared from the demands of the law, seeing that Christ had not then redeemed them by his death, and seeing that faith is a belief of the truth, I cannot see. Neither can brother Purdy point me to a single shadow, or a single declaration in the Old Testament that points backward to the redemption and deliverance from the law as already accomplished. Hence as faith, genuine faith, can embrace only what God has revealed, it could only believe that they should be delivered from the law and its bondage; not that they were then delivered. Brother Purdy speaks with surprise at the idea of the old Testament saints being born again and not being justified from the law and enjoying all the liberty of sons; but Paul speaks of those who preceded the fullness of time when God sent forth his Son, &c., as being children, and yet as being in bondage under the elements of the world. Gal.4:8, already referred to, so that brother Purdy must reconcile this matter with Paul, not with me.

Brother Purdy seems to suppose that to believe in God’s having purposed to redeem will have just the same effect in giving liberty, as to believe that he has fulfilled that purpose in sending his Son to redeem. Why then did not the faith of the old saints look back to the purpose of God as the ground of their hope instead of looking forward to the coming of Christ to redeem them? But that such is not the case, brother Purdy’s own experience I think is sufficient to convince him, if he will attend to it. Brother Purdy I presume believes that according to the revealed purpose of God, he being a child of promise, his body is yet to be changed like unto the glorified body of the Son of God when he will be freed from all corruption, earthliness and mortality; and being Christ’s and therefore the seed of Abraham, he believes it with the same faith that Abraham had, and as strongly as Abraham could believe that in his seed should all nations be blessed. Does his faith in this purpose of God, in this case, enable him to realize the change as already taken place? Or does he like Paul and others still “groan, being burdened with a body of sin and death?” How then can he suppose that faith can bring that which is future and existing only in purpose, into present and actual existence? What is it then? Why brother Purdy believes that this glorious change will take place, therefore does he hope and quietly wait for it. So I have no doubt the Old Testament believers, hoped and patiently waited for their redemption and justification from the law. This purposed salvation carried to the extent which some do even denying that the Mediator existed only in purpose, until he was born of Mary, I cannot view as anything else than cloaked deism. For if for four thousand years men could approach God, and be accepted, without any existing Mediator through whom to approach and could enjoy perfect deliverance from the demands of the law without being actually redeemed from under it; I see not why others in after ages, might not so approach and be accepted of God without the existence of a Mediator. What is this but open deism or infidelity as it is called? But I have a hope that brother Purdy does not carry his purposed salvation so far.

But brother Purdy evidently misunderstood me in arguing as though I had represented that the Old Testament saints were not made equal with those living under the gospel, that is in heaven. I said no such thing, and thought no such thing. In the very sentence which he quoted from me I said when the “everlasting doors were lifted up and the king of glory or Christ entered, they no doubt entered with him.” Of course fully partook of that justification for which he was raised, and of his spirit as son and of his glory, as much as any who have entered where he is since. So that the text, “They are all one in Christ Jesus,” which he quoted has no bearing against my position, but supports it as showing that they were all alike and at the same time redeemed in Christ, and glorified in him. I now come to brother Purdy’s objection to the idea that the Old Testament saints did not enter into that heaven or glory which followed Christ’s death, into which the saints who died before, and those who have died since the ascension of Christ, have alike now entered.

1st. I will notice his remarks on the two texts to which I referred in advancing my idea. First, he notices my reference to Psa.24:7-10. Brother Purdy remarks upon this, “Brother Trott has a plurality of doors for the admittance of the old saints. We had cherished the belief that there was but the one way to heaven, &c.” I had supposed there was but one way to the Father, and that Christ is that way. But I was speaking of Christ having triumphed over death, &c., entering into his glory, so I understand the Psalmist to have reference. As I only referred to the passage without quoting it, I used the term opened instead of lifted up, as synonymous. As the Holy Ghost by David spake of doors and gates in the plural, I still think I was correct in using the language of inspiration on the point. As Christ is the Head of the body, the church; the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all he might have the preeminence, I then thought, and now think he would be the first to be received up into glory; that glory which I understand to be the heaven of the saints. Brother Purdy also notices my reference to the parable of Lazarus. I said, “Hence Lazarus, instead of being represented as being with Christ is said to have been in Abraham’s bosom; that is, resting for the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham.” Thus it will be seen that I understand the expression as figurative of resting on the promise made to Abraham, waiting its fulfillment in the manifestation of the seed, Christ, if I had not added this explanatory remark, but merely quoted the expression of Christ. I cannot but think the remark of brother Purdy was rather ill aimed, – “Ah! One saint resting in the bosom of another saint,” because the language was the language of the Son of God, not mine. The idea of brother Purdy, that Abraham is here mentioned as figurative of the Father and Lazarus of the Son, is not only to me strange, but awful. A man, a figure of the absolute, sovereign, self-existing, and invisible Jehovah! Can there be any other likeness of God, but the Son, who is the express image of his person? Did brother Purdy ever consider the second command of the Decalogue of Moses’ remarks, Deut.4:12-16, or did he recollect that God is a spirit, or the text, John 1:18. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him?” Then to speak of the Son as being carried by angels to the bosom of the Father, as though he did not always dwell there, and as though he was raised up and transported by angels. As to Abraham, he is frequently mentioned in the New Testament, as well as in the Old, but never as a type or figure, but always of himself, in that peculiar relation in which God had placed him as being the Father of all them that believe, as well as of national Israel. That parable with its closing instruction shows that Abraham as the father of the Jews was there intended. But brother Purdy noticed my reference to those two texts, why not notice the quotation of Heb.9:8, in connection with 10:19,20. There is contained a positive declaration, that “the Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”

Let us notice what this state of glory, or heaven, or the antitypical holiest of all, into which the saints enter since the coming of Christ, is described to be in the New Testament. Paul speaks, Phil.1:23, of having a desire to depart and be with Christ. This then was the heaven he had in view. Christ in his prayer to his Father, John 17:24, says, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” He had before said, verse 5, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee, before the world was.” And still before, he had said, verse 1, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee.” It appears from this that he had this glory with the Father, before the world was in that eternal purpose which God purposed in him. That is as he dwelt in the bosom of the Father, and was hid in God, but now the hour is come in which he was to be personally and manifestively glorified, as the Son or Mediator to the admiration of angels and saints. Again, Christ says in John 14:2,3. “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there may ye be also.” I do not understand this house as being confined in its mansions to the heavenly glory, but as the typical house or temple had its most holy place, shadowing forth heaven itself, into which Christ has entered, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Heb.9:21-26. The language of these texts clearly show, that those whom the Father had given, had not been with him in that heaven to which he has now entered; that he had not before entered, with his own blood, and had not prepared a place for his people, and had not as the Mediator been personally glorified. Whatever then may have been the heaven signified by the term Abraham’s bosom, and by the term paradise, it is evident that the saints who died previous to the everlasting doors being lift up, and Christ’s entering into this heavenly glory, could not have been with Christ to behold his glory, where, according to his prayer, they and other departed saints now are. The paradise, where Christ promised the thief, saying, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” whatever it imports, I think cannot have been designed to denote this state of heavenly glory, from the meaning of the word as signifying a fruit garden, and from its being first applied to Eden in the Scriptures; besides on the third day, after his crucifixion, Christ said to Mary, “I am not yet ascended to my Father.” John 20:17. In conclusion, if brother Purdy will lay aside imagination and the traditions of men, and search the Scriptures on the subject, he will find that I was not so erroneous as he thought in my reply to brother Fisher. I have been more lengthy on the subject than I could have wished. Indeed the subject simply of the state of the departed saints previous to the resurrection is in itself rather unimportant, but involving as this question does, the glorification of Christ and the enquiry whether his people were glorified with him, and in him; or whether a part of them were glorified before he was, and therefore in themselves independently of his glorification, is a subject of no small importance. I hope you may consider this worthy of a place in the MESSENGER.

With christian regards, yours,
Fairfax C.H., Va., Aug. 22, 1856.